Decadal biomass increment in early secondary succession woody ecosystems is increased by CO2 enrichment

Anthony P. Walker*, Martin G. De Kauwe, Belinda E. Medlyn, Sönke Zaehle, Colleen M. Iversen, Shinichi Asao, Bertrand Guenet, Anna Harper, Thomas Hickler, Bruce A. Hungate, Atul K. Jain, Yiqi Luo, Xingjie Lu, Meng Lu, Kristina Luus, J. Patrick Megonigal, Ram Oren, Edmund Ryan, Shijie Shu, Alan TalhelmYing Ping Wang, Jeffrey M. Warren, Christian Werner, Jianyang Xia, Bai Yang, Donald R. Zak, Richard J. Norby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Increasing atmospheric CO 2 stimulates photosynthesis which can increase net primary production (NPP), but at longer timescales may not necessarily increase plant biomass. Here we analyse the four decade-long CO 2 -enrichment experiments in woody ecosystems that measured total NPP and biomass. CO 2 enrichment increased biomass increment by 1.05 ± 0.26 kg C m −2 over a full decade, a 29.1 ± 11.7% stimulation of biomass gain in these early-secondary-succession temperate ecosystems. This response is predictable by combining the CO 2 response of NPP (0.16 ± 0.03 kg C m −2 y −1 ) and the CO 2 -independent, linear slope between biomass increment and cumulative NPP (0.55 ± 0.17). An ensemble of terrestrial ecosystem models fail to predict both terms correctly. Allocation to wood was a driver of across-site, and across-model, response variability and together with CO 2 -independence of biomass retention highlights the value of understanding drivers of wood allocation under ambient conditions to correctly interpret and predict CO 2 responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number454 (2019)
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The FACE Model-Data Synthesis project was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research program. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is operated by UT-Battelle, LLC, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the US Department of Energy. M.D.K. also acknowledges support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CE170100023). Support for J.P.M. and M.L. was provided by a DOE-TES program grant DE-SC0008339 and the Smith-sonian Institution. A.K.J. and S.S. were supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF-AGS-12-43071). R.O. was supported by the Erkko Visiting Professor Programme of the Jane and Aatos Erkko 375th Anniversary Fund through the University of Helsinki.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.


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